Question 4 on the State ballot of November 8, 2016 legalized recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The passing of the question also created the The Cannabis Control Commission, who will regulate recreational marijuana in Massachusetts. Previously, marijuana was only permitted for medicinal purposes.
The voters of the Town of Shrewsbury cast more no votes than yes votes on Question 4 in 2016. Therefore, the Board of Selectmen and Town Meeting have the ability to implement local control bylaws or completely ban recreational marijuana facilities as laid out in Section 3 of M.G.L. Chapter 334 of the Acts of 2016, prior to July 1, 2018, when recreational marijuana shops are permitted to begin retail sales.
The Cannabis Control Commission has released draft regulations and municipal guidance for municipalities to use as guidelines when deciding whether to ban or regulate recreational marijuana establishments.
The Board of Selectmen held a public hearing on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 to hear from interested citizens on the matters before the Board pertaining to recreational marijuana establishments and held a Special Town Meeting on the issue on April 23, 2018.
On April 23, 2018, Town Meeting voted to allow retail sales of marijuana in Shrewsbury, subject to certain zoning restrictions and the requirement for applicants to obtain a special permit from the Planning Board. Town Meeting Members also voted to implement a 3% local sales tax as well as ban consumption on town property. A maximum of two licenses will be issued for Recreational Marijuana Establishments.
Pharmacannis Massachusetts, Inc. received special permit approval from the Planning Board at their regularly scheduled meeting on October 3, 2019 to operate a retail and medical marijuana establishment at 939 Boston Turnpike. The Botanist, Inc. (formerly Prime Wellness Center, Inc.) received special permit approval from the Plan Board at their regularly scheduled meeting on February 7, 2019 to operate a retail and medical marijuana establishment at 235 Hartford Turnpike.
There are no additional licenses for retail marijuana establishments available at this time.